GIRFEC petition update: our latest submission to Committee

Our Petition PE01692 calling for a public inquiry into the human rights impact of GIRFEC was lodged jointly with Tymes Trust in 2018 following a ‘Fringe’ event we had organised for families concerned about increasing state surveillance and interference in their private lives.

Their ‘inconvenient’ voices had been excluded from parliamentary evidence sessions in respect of the (now withdrawn) Information Sharing Bill, which was the Scottish Government’s attempt to circumvent the 2016 Supreme Court ruling that had scuppered its flagship GIRFEC-enabling legislation.

Our petition was subsequently referred by the Public Petitions Committee to the Education & Skills Committee, who are due to revisit it in November in the light of further information, including correspondence from the ICO, the Deputy First Minister and Local Authorities.

Our own latest submission can be read in full here

Since our last submission to the Committee, the Scottish Home Education Forum has published its ‘Home Truths’ report, which highlighted serious failings directly attributable to implementation of GIRFEC policy that had resulted in less favourable treatment by public services of members of a minority group. Specific concerns over councils’ data processing activities led to the further research referenced above.

Parents’ longstanding concerns over data misuse have never been properly addressed and they are increasingly frustrated by routine flouting of the law by service providers, as revealed by FOI responses and subject access requests. Some still appear not to realise that Parts 4 & 5 of the 2014 Act never came into force and are to be repealed, nor that the discredited ICO advice from 2013 (still referenced in public policies) had to be withdrawn in 2016.

Given such ignorance of the law, families are left wondering what hope there is for UNCRC incorporation when the self-defined, rights-based, immovable object that is the Convention is faced with the state outcomes-driven, irresistible force that is GIRFEC.

On behalf of children and parents who have suffered detriment, the petitioners would reiterate the need for a public inquiry into the human rights impact of GIRFEC as implemented since its inception, and in particular from 2013 onwards.

Read about our petition’s history:

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